Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Elgg Social Networking

Elgg is an open-source social web application licensed under GPL version 2, and runs on the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP) or WAMP (Windows, Apache, MySQL, PHP) platform. It offers a networking platform combining elements of blogging, e-portfolios, news feed aggregation, file sharing, and social networking. Elgg has its own plug-in architecture, and can use plug-ins to provide a calendar and a wiki. It supports a number of open standards including RSS, LDAP for authentication, FOAF, and XML-RPC for integration with most third-party blogging clients. It can be integrated with MediaWiki, Moodle, Drupal, and WebCT.

Elgg provides each user with a personal weblog, file repository (with podcasting capabilities), an online profile, and an RSS reader. Additionally, all of a user's content can be tagged with keywords—so they can connect with other users with similar interests and create their own personal learning network. However, where Elgg differs from a regular weblog or a commercial social network (such as MySpace) is the degree of control each user is given over who can access their content. Each profile item, blog post, or uploaded file can be assigned its own access restrictions—from fully public to readable only by a particular group or individual.

Using Elgg is the easiest way to create your own fully customized, hosted social network for your business, organization, or group of friends. Elgg communities can include blogs, discussion groups, media galleries, friends' lists, and much more. Because it's open source, and has many plug-ins, Elgg can be extended in unlimited ways. Elgg lets you host your own Facebook-style social network and retain complete control over how it works. This book shows you all you need to know to create safe, fun social networks.

While anybody can use Elgg to create their social network, it is especially useful in education as it has many features making it suitable for e-learning, including groups, communities, and blogs that can be used for online classes where students can communicate in a new way with each other and with students around the world—in a managed, protected environment, creating what its authors term a "personal learning landscape". This book also covers using Elgg in teaching/learning.

Detailed Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Social Networks and Elgg
Chapter 2: A Tour around Elgg
Chapter 3: Users, Profiles, and Connections
Chapter 4: Blogging and Resources
Chapter 5: Communities and Files
Chapter 6: Customizing Elgg
Chapter 7: Elgg Plug-Ins
Appendix A: Installing Elgg
Appendix B: Elgg Case Study


What you will learn from this book
Get started with your Social networking site
Customize your site's appearance to give it a unique style
Invite friends, create groups, and start blogs
Automate your user registration
Host photos, videos, and MP3s—enable users to comment and discuss them
Use Elgg as a group podcasting platform
Create, improve, and maintain a community
Protect your network from spam

This book has a very easy-to-follow approach that will teach you how to do things with examples and lots of screenshots. As an example the book builds a community site for Linux administrators

Mayank Sharma
Mayank Sharma is a contributing editor at SourceForge, Inc's He also writes a monthly column for Packt Publishing. Mayank has contributed several technical articles to the IBM developerWorks where he hosts a Linux Security blog. When not writing, he teaches courses on Open Source topics at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, as guest lecturer.







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